What if I told you there as a special kind of milkshake (yes, a milkshake) that could help you have a shorter and easier labor? There is. It's called the "date shake." And it's amazing.
Before you go raising an eyebrow over the idea that 1) there's a milkshake that can help your in birth and 2) dates can actually taste good, let's get a little background information.
Dates have been around for 50 million years and are a staple in African, Middle Eastern, and Indian diets. Dates provide essential nutrients and are a very good source of dietary potassium. Apart from the sugar content, which helps provide energy our bodies need, dates also contain protein, fiber, and trace elements of boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. It's like a nature-made multivitamin!
But here's the real kicker about dates, as it concerns the pregnant readers out there: research shows that eating six dates a day (just six!) in the last four weeks of pregnancy has a significant likelihood of affecting your labor and birth, including:
- increased likelihood of labor starting on its own
- amniotic bag less likely to rupture early (reduces labor pain, decreases risk of infection)
- a reduction in postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding after birth)
- shorter early phase of first stage labor (average of 7 hours shorter!) than those women in the study who did not eat dates
Is it any wonder that the uterus (which is a muscle) would benefit from an increase in nutrients proven to improve fitness, like those found in dates? Those are some awesome benefits for just six dates a day! Wait, didn't this post say something about a milkshake?
Now that you know the why behind eating dates, let's take a look at one of the tastier hows. The date shake has been a popular treat on the West Coast, specifically in California, for many years. It's delicious, simple to make, and full of good-for-you nutrients! The basic recipe is below.
Date Shake Recipe for Easier Labor
4-6 pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cold milk
1 1/4 cups vanilla ice cream
First, blend dates and milk until smooth and frothy. Then, add ice cream and blend until combined.
Dairy free: Switch out milk for almond or cashew milk, and ice cream for a dairy-free version.
Up the nutrition: Throw in a banana for an added kick of potassium (great for leg cramps), magnesium, B6, and B12. Add in your favorite nut butter to increase the protein.
Reduce the sugar: If you're avoiding added sugar, replace ice cream with milk or yogurt and ice cubes.
If you're in the last few weeks of pregnancy, consider upping your date game, er, date eating game, by adding a daily date shake into your routine. Milkshake for breakfast? Make it a date shake!